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Direct Action Campout Wednesday at Portland National Guard Camp

Camp Withycombe is an Oregon Army National Guard camp in SE Portland, just south of Clackamas, and it is so close to where we live, there is no excuse not to blockade it right NOW! You can even ride the BUS there. So we're GOING to blockade it. Read on...
Yeah, it's short notice. So what? Everyone's been itching for more action and now they're gonna get it.

After the "Funk the War" event in downtown Portland this Wednesday, everybody is invited to join an action to blockade the gates of the Oregon Army National Guard's Camp Withycombe just south of Clackamas Town Center. This is presuming the dance-actions at the offices of local war profiteers are going to be over too quick and be far too symbolic to satisfy many of us. By all means we should keep those actions going as long as we can, but if they run out of steam there's a surefire way to liven things back up: we can square off against the military ITSELF.

From the possibly outdated map of Camp Withycombe at this link ( http://www.mil.state.or.us/AGI-PNP/CWMPExecSumm.pdf), it seems there is a "commercial entrance" on SE Mather Road and a "main entrance" on SE Clackamas. We will block any and every entrance and stay there until we get our point across. Which means until we are forcibly removed. The people of Portland will not tolerate the Clackamas Armory suppplying these occupations right out of its backyard if they know of its existence. Or will we?

Read more about what they do out there:

 http://www.oregon.gov/OMD/index.shtml

Oregon's "Adjudant General," General Raymond F. Rees, should be around to get our message. He is in charge of all sorts of operations that feed the inferno that is Iraq, and he is supposedly housed on the premises of Camp Withycombe. Let's make sure he is housebound until he is willing to have a frank discussion with us about what we heard in the Winter Soldier testimony this weekend.

To anybody who has not heard this weekend's Winter Soldier testimony, it's recommended that you not come to this action until you have. Hear it, see it, read it at IVAW.org or warcomeshome.org. If you understand what is at stake, you are not going to chicken out. This weekend the Vets said these things very clearly:

1. If there are not IMMEDIATE and UNCONDITIONAL withdrawals of U.S. forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, the violence is only going to escalate.

2. Veterans need full benefits upon their return despite their discharge status. They have been shafted too, not just Afghans and Iraqis (though this is an issue that is secondary to most of us as long as Iraqis are being tortured, maimed and slaughtered).

3. Reparations must be paid to the people of Iraq for the damage the U.S. has done to their lives, even though money can never compensate them for what has been done to them.

4. MOST IMPORTANTLY, the Vets emphasized that if they do not feel the PUBLIC is behind them, they are not going to find it as easy to find the guts to speak out agaist the futility of the occupations. So we need to tell active duty servicepeople and their bosses here in Oregon, at Camp Withycombe, "We support you in your decisions to quit fighting. We're here for you if you desert. It is okay to tell your commanding officers that NO you will NOT fight illegal wars and occupations just so those officers can rise up the chain of command or for whatever warped reasons they have." Remember that people enlisted in the military have been listening closely to the Winter Soldier testimony, and they are frustrated. Many of them are sick of war. This week they are joining Iraq Vets Against the War too fast for IVAW to even register them. With this kind of momentum, with everyone acting in concert, we have a shot at shutting down this war machine, IF we act NOW.

We will be making sure General Raymond Rees hears what the IVAW is saying, even if the media blackout of Winter Soldier and the blinkered official Pentagon position on it insulated him from what was actually said.

So we'll see you THIS WEDNESDAY, AFTER "FUNK THE WAR," JUST SOUTH OF CLACKAMAS. And for all you chickens out there, come on out and work the video cameras for us at least :) Unless extraordinary circumstances prevent it, this action will continue beyond Wednesday. So on Thursday if you aren't at the blockade already all you kids joining the walkout downtown are welcome to join. Even if it is a long bus ride, you are not going to want to miss this...

Right On 16.Mar.2008 23:46

Just Say NO WAR

Reading through the military department website you can get an idea of what forces Oregon contributes to the war effort. Their past press releases tell you things like how there are 180 soldiers in Iraq from the 234 Engineer unit (which is based in Warrenton at the coast) doing futile security detail for civilian contractors and things like that. It is hard for a civilian to sort through all those names of units and keep track of who is where, but this is for sure: the Oregon National Guard 41st Brigade Combat Team is already scheduled to go do more of the same in Iraq, doing things like guarding bases, starting sometime next year. They are preparing right now. TO GO TO IRAQ NEXT YEAR. Wait, what happened to "no permanent bases"??? Let's do all we can to prevent this deployment. Let's shut down Withycombe on Wednesday.

 http://www.oregon.gov/OMD/PressRelease/2007/12-03-07Press.shtml

Press Release


December 03, 2007

Dept. of Defense makes alert order official

The Department of Defense officially alerted five National Guard brigades today for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan in the summer of 2009.

Oregon's 41st Infantry Brigade Combat team received an alert for deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The release from the Dept. of Defense states:

The Department of Defense announced today the alert of replacement forces scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The announcement involves three brigades from the Army National Guard consisting of approximately 8,000 personnel.

These brigades will have a security force mission and be assigned tasks which will assure freedom of movement and continuity of operations in the country. Those tasks will include base defense and route security in Iraq and Kuwait.

These units are currently scheduled to begin deployment in the summer of 2009. They are receiving alert orders now in order to provide them the maximum time to complete their preparations. It also provides a greater measure of predictability for family members and flexibility for employers to plan for military service of their employees.

Specific units alerted are:

32nd Brigade Combat Team, Wisconsin National Guard

41st Brigade Combat Team, Oregon National Guard

155th Brigade Combat Team, Mississippi National Guard

Unit deployments reflect the continued commitment of the United States to the security of the Iraqi people. The Department recognizes the continued sacrifices of these units and their family members.

DoD will continue to announce major unit deployments as they are identified and those units are alerted. For information on the units announced today or other units involved in this rotation, please contact Mississippi National Guard Public Affairs at (601) 313-6271, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs at (503) 584-3886 or Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs at (608) 242-3050.

campout 17.Mar.2008 00:51

preparedness

i understand if organizers don't want to name themselves and know that any info on lockdown plans should be kept quiet for now, but a little more info would be helpful
what should we bring besides ourselves? - is there anything being put in place to make this long lasting?
are medics being organized?
jail support?
legal observers?
do we need food? water? music? flyers for the rest of portland and clackamas? info to hand out onsite? waste disposal systems of some sort?
lets not just stand around with arms linked ready to get plowed down by horse-cops in the first few hours...

Why Blockade? 17.Mar.2008 01:00

it is the 40 year anniversary of My Lai

One thing leads to another...Here is more on the Oregon National Guard 41st Brigade Combat Team, which is based in Tigard Oregon and will deploy up to 3500 soldiers to Iraq next year. They just got a new commander March 6th, one Col. Daniel Hokanson. The guy who had the job before, Col. David B. Enyeart, is now the "Assistant Adjudant General," so is the right hand man to General Raymond Rees. These are the men who will be sending 3500 young men to Iraq (with the governor's go-ahead, of course), so address your signs and letters to them. A funny piece of trivia for those of us who haven't been paying attention: the last commander of the 41st BCT, Col. Cameron A. Crawford, was promoted to Brigadier General at Guantanamo Bay, meaning he's the deputy commander of the gulag. Interesting. Way up the chain of command.

Story about Hokanson:  http://salem-news.com/articles/march062008/hokanson_command_3-6-08.php

The last story brought this one along with it, and it must not be ignored. The My Lai massacre must be remembered, and the desensitized military culture that allowed it to happen in Vietnam has already been allowed to grow within the military in Iraq, as anyone can hear in the Winter Soldier testimony.

 http://salem-news.com/articles/march162008/my_lai_remembered_3-15-08.php

If you could... 17.Mar.2008 02:00

Generation Betrayed

Could you add a little more info. Is there plans to camp out there, ect? Need to know what to do for food, water, long stay and all that good stuff.

Plans 17.Mar.2008 02:01

"organizer"

Regarding "preparedness," we're keeping it simple. Any people that show up are "the organizers." B.Y.O. food and water, the forest is the bathroom. Maybe bring milk for when the tear gas gets in your eyes :) The noisemakers from the war profiteer actions are definitely welcome (the neighbors have good ears, that's why the Camp's firing range was shut down). It has been said that a night in a certain local jail can be awfully chilly too, so long sleeved, warm clothes are recommended. And you need to have phone numbers memorized, not stored in a cell phone, if you are going to want to make calls from jail. This is not to say that people are necessarily going to go to jail! It's just in case, practical stuff. That's pretty much it for preparations, other than getting ourselves well-informed beforehand and putting some schemes together at Wednesday's other action. Any law enforcement that is called in might even be sort of amused at the audacity of this at first, who knows, they might go easy on us...

Concerning the advertisement or flyering aspect: this action is really something for those direct action lovers who have been paying attention and looking for effective actions but have been unsatisfied with the impotence of the recent organized actions. So no great effort need be expended trying to reach a more general public. Hopefully many of the "already-radicalized" read this site and pick up on things from here and pass it on by word of mouth at Food Not Bombs and Funk the War and other events. It would be great if you can get the word out on little pieces of paper by Wednesday, but of course it's short notice. So word of mouth is the operative phrase.

Strategy-wise, it's open. Can't really say until you see the numbers that show up, can you? It really only takes a few to block a roadway. But from the way everybody has been talking lately, about half of the people who were at the "parade" downtown on Saturday are ready to put their bodies in a place that actually STOPS weapons and troops from leaving the U.S. rather than ASKING for it all to stop. Do they all read Indymedia every day? Probably not. So get the word out at the Funk the War event and elsewhere. No doubt those people who have been doing counter recruitment are pretty bored with that routine, they should definitely be encouraged to come on out. Come on Raging Grannies, you know you want to...

Don't hesitate to put out your own ideas here. And someone bring a cameraperson who will enjoy recording the reaction of desert-fatigue wearing humvee-driving soldiers when they see us holding a banner reading "Camp Withycombe CLOSED until further notice."

Sorry one more thing 17.Mar.2008 02:06

me

I am not familiar with the bus routes out there. What bus # runs near there?

Time? 17.Mar.2008 02:17

action

What time is everyone meeting up there?

Paranoia and inaction 17.Mar.2008 15:29

Fr(A)nk

I always find it funny when the fear mongers come out and start telling people to be afraid of the police. Yeah, the police might be there but whether or not it's organized publicly or quietly the police will find out within an hour or less so why bother with secrecy. If we keep following the "don't let anyone who isn't your best friend know" model of organizing there will never be anything to speak of except for small autonomous actions. Which isn't to say that autonomous action isn't fantastic but sometimes the job calls for more bodies. Many major direct actions have been called publicly and have achieved some measure of success so historically people don't need to be as paranoid as people on indymedia usually try to tell us to be.

As to organizing a "viable mass movement" I haven't a clue what you're talking about. I've seen thousands of people marching for hours achieving nothing, while one person with a good plan can make a recruiting station unusable. We need a movement of action not mere numbers, no matter how massive it is, a movement that shirks action might as well not exist.

well said 17.Mar.2008 15:42

organizer

To the person with that pertinent question: "Did we consider who's reading this?" Yes, but we're not paralyzed into inaction by that realization, because we know that we are not going to die doing this, and that if we don't do it, the officers and soldiers who are armed, outfitted and trained at this camp are going go right ahead with zero actual resistance from the American public and KILL INNOCENTS IN OUR NAME. Guaranteed. We needn't get into that fun portland indymedia discussion again, the one where you get the response, "So were Gandhi and MLK Jr. just acting 'macho' when they risked arrest?" Instead, how about this question: "Who is going to end these wars? Democrats? The PDX peace coalition alone, as is?" You know the answer to the last questions, which is of course not. YOU are going to, and WE are going to, IF we actually TRY. Your counsel is good, about not discouraging people from taking action against this war. We hope to encourage people to take more action by being bold enough to try new things. Please do come join us if you can, and we really hope that everyone who doesn't show up to this action will still try relentlessly to find a venue they are comfortable with for the expression of their opposition. Thank you for your concern.

To other matters: bus 72 seems close enough. Time? Here is how the thinking is going: Stick with the Funk the War event until it winds down, then depart for pastoral Clackamas...

To answer other questions: yes as crazy as it sounds this may entail actual camping out Wednesday night, because maybe the early bird gets the military blockaded, and because we'll want to stick around until a second wave of people come as reinforcements after the walkout Thursday. And yes, there are people who will commit to this as a longer term (non-blockade campout) action if for some reason this turns out to be both A. effective at publicizing the local war machine, and B. tolerated by The Man. A balance that is hard to strike. But to actually keep a compound like this truly blockaded for any significant amount of time would take many many committed people, probably all getting repeatedly arrested. So as for Wednesday and Thursday, just consider us the guinea pigs. Let's see how this goes. We can learn what to expect- things like how the security people react. We can learn the Camp schedule and learn when it would be best to come out in force and when it's ineffective to be there. By the time the troops and their equipment are really really mobilizing from there to head to Iraq we will be prepared to stop them.

Another random idea for you: if anyone has a huge PA system that we could use to blast the Winter Soldier testimony at the Camp, that would be awesome to have...

"organizer" is now going to drop out of this dicussion because although there is much more to say, if there are more words here than people have the patience to read, they might not even bother reading in the first place, let alone take action. We'll talk more at "Funk the War" Wednesday at 12:30 at 3rd and Madison (in downtown, SW). See you all there!

bus # 18.Mar.2008 08:00

roadblock

if you looking to ride the bus then ya better bring a sleeping bag because it takes forever on the bus to get there. the war may be over by the time you get there. but take bus #57. that is the shortest route and the shortest walk once you get off the bus. have a good trip see ya there (maybe) don't forget to bring food. you bring the buns, I'll bring the dogs

you do realize, of course 18.Mar.2008 09:36

me again

that indymedia is a public web site and there's nothing stopping law enforcement officers from reading it. as such, they almost certainly do.

therefore, the chance of there being a successful blockade tomorrow is, approximately, zero. because, so is the surprise factor. they'll be out there, ready for you.

if nobody acts, nothing will change. 18.Mar.2008 13:59

enough cowering!

This Wednesday we will have been occupying Iraq for five full years. As of this week, four THOUSAND American servicemen and women will be dead as a result of having gone there. This does not include the countless suicides that have happened since these servicepeople returned from their tours, and also does not factor in the hundreds who have died in Afghanistan. How many servicepeople have been crippled and maimed for life? Thousands upon thousands have suffered, and live with, invisible injuries that will not be accounted for in Pentagon statistics.

Over one million (1,000,000) Iraqis have died, according to the best estimates. One quarter of all Iraqis know someone who has died under this occupation, and their lives have all been affected in so many more ways than that. So many have been humiliated and violated so badly they are probably going to be enemies of the USA for life.

WHY are we sending 3500 young men and women from the "greater Portland area" into this situation next year? Why would anyone who understands what is going on here NOT take every opportunity they have to express their opposition to this horrible mistake?

Those of you do not think we can block the gates, or who think it is a silly idea because we'll just be brushed aside or arrested real quick, COME ANYWAY and line the entry roads to Camp Withycombe after Funk the War. You're right, anyone blocking entry or exit from the camp will probably end up being forced aside one way or another, but that does not mean we're going to LEAVE. We will not let the men and women of the Oregon National Guard, based in our own communities, forget what they are facing. We will remind them they have a choice. They do not HAVE to go to Iraq next year. Are those streets not public property? Do you not have a right to be there holding signs? We're going to be just fine standing with our signs outside the camp, ESPECIALLY if everyone who really thinks this matters actually SHOWS UP.

Consider this the start of a resistance campaign at local military bases that should have started a long time ago. We have all been too patient. We have all had high hopes for the peace movement, which has actually done a fine job in educating the public and making it "okay" to be vocally against the war, but we have found that all our talking has not made an actual difference in the trajectory of the war. The escalation has not stopped. It is time to try something new.

If you do nothing else just come hold signs on the side of the road in solidarity, people! Some of us may want to get creative out there, with "citizen's checkpoints" where we make sure the Guard is disarming Withycombe in accordance with the wishes of the public. We will want to listen to the experiences of those in the Guard who have already been on tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, to get their take on the situation. There will be some back and forth. Maybe the Adjutant General will even come out for a chat if we're persistent. We'd like to hold a press conference with him so the community can get to know him. Why not? He commands our military in our name. The point is, though there may be some rowdiness, this can be a perfectly peaceful action, and the time for directly addressing our military has come.

See you at noon at SW 3rd and Madison.

if this isn't a "true effort to make peace," what IS? 18.Mar.2008 19:24

...and who's drinkin' at the keys?

Whether or not it is possible or desirable to blockade the camp on Wednesday (and you know when it comes down to it, when the deployment of weapons from there really needs to be stopped, we WILL shut the place down), we are going to make an impression on the people that work there.

We have someone bringing a boombox and a recording of the Winter Soldier testimony and we're going to be playing it as long as there is someone at the camp to listen to it. So if you want an educational experience, come out and listen. We hope it will be played there at the main gate to Camp Withycombe all day on Thursday as well, and maybe beyond that. We will make sure that the soldiers coming and going get to hear it, and also be sure they know where they can find it online (ivaw.org and warcomeshome.org). We hope others will do this at other locations, especially at the demonstrations outside recruiting stations. This is risk free and completely legal to do on public property, as far as we can tell.

Directions to the camp: from downtown, take bus 31 out to Clackamas where the road becomes Highway 212/224. Get off the bus at the "Clackamas Inn Suites" intersection, or maybe you can go a little beyond that. Walk across the bridge and go left at 98th Ave., and walk up to SE Clackamas road and go right. The Main Gate is up at the curve there. Put together the walk is less than half a mile. Not bad. Gather outside the main gate at the gravel shoulders if you feel like it, do something else if you feel like doing something else...

Do you think You will really make a difference at Camp Withycombe? 18.Mar.2008 20:34

someone of sence

Will all of your efforts put forth to this activity I ask you all to remember what we are doing In the conflicts we are currently engaged in overseas, we for one are not trying to Kill anyone over there at all in fact the ones that perish over there only ask for it bye trying to hurt us first, second of all We the U.S. is not the only country conducting operations if you would read the news paper we have a coalition from around the world over there, assisting in the reconstruction of the nations under conflict, who need our help...

So to all of you who are planning on wasting your time just remember one last thing, Our soldiers believe in our mission to ensure our nations freedom, freedoms witch include the right to Protest as you will all be doing. witch we would not have unless we fought for the right to do so in our great history as a nation, now we are helping others obtain that goal in other nations mentoring them to grow into a better nation of peace. and do not forget that the terrorists who attacked our great nation originated in one of the nations we are in right now.

So just remember to thank every soldier you see tomorrow for your right to protest in a public manor as you will be doing.

DO NOT GO TO THIS ACTION! 18.Mar.2008 23:52

concerned person

There are several problems with this idea:

1: Almost no planning, direct action takes some form of preparedness and planning to be accomplished safley.
2: As far as I know there will be no medical support/street medics on hand, and judging from the organizers comment to bring "milk for when the tear gas gets in your eyes" there will not a lot of people with experience dealing with police weapons. I don't even know what that is referencing. Milk does not do anything for tear gas. LAW Solution works for pepper spray, and is white and looks like milk (is that what you meant?). Long story short: DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN PEOPLES EYES (OR YOUR OWN EYES) TO DEAL WITH CHEMICAL WEAPONS IF YOU DO NOT HAVE STREET MEDIC TRAINING! You are spreading disinformation and rumors that could get people seriously hurt.
3: Very poorly chosen target, its a national guard base. They are not actively deploying any weapons or soldiers to Iraq tomorrow, so blockading the base will do very little to stop the war machine.
4: The base is in an obscure location, and seeing as you are publicizing this at the last minute, there will be no media attention, the majority of the people who will hear you will be GIs who will probably just be angry at you, and the antiwar movement in general.
5: Trying to use other peoples more carefully and thoughtfully planed actions as publicity springboards, and then publicly criticizing them on indymedia, is not a good way to help build the movement or build solidarity. PLEASE be respectful and do not hijack those peoples events to organize and publicize your own.
6: The tone of your initial post is not very friendly at all. Calling people "chickens" for not participating in a direct action is not OK. People are in different places with their resistance to the war, have different legal situations, and different financial resources for dealing with arrest. Direct action is way some of us chose to manifest resistance, but no one has to do anything, or should be called a chicken for not doing it.
7: Posting details of a direct action plan on Indymedia is VERY VERY BAD idea. This is public. The police do read it, everyday. My first instinct when I see someone posting the specifics of a direct action here is they are a cop trying to lure people in. I know that that is probably not true, but regardless this is not a safe place to post action plans. Please do not do that in the future.
8: There is no legal support and no jail support, or at least you haven't mentioned it. Do you have a plan for when you get arrested?

I understand that you are frustrated with the seeming lack of progress in the antiwar movement, I am too. But plannign a direct action a few days before it is supposed to happen, and then publicizing it in a public space is not a good way to react. People will get needlessly hurt and take risks for very little gain.

If you do go through with this, good luck, but i would strongly encourage you not to.

Action planning 19.Mar.2008 01:41

A mildly concerned person

To concerned person, some of your concerns are warranted while others seem like over-paranoia like police read indymedia so don't post about direct action camps. Funk the war is a direct action with more explicit statements about the action than this one, as well as many, many other direct actions that have passed through indymedia. The action isn't well planned it seems and concern is warranted for sure, and while posting your concerns is a healthy way of expressing misgivings, please, please, don't ask people not to participate in actions.

to a mildly concerned person 19.Mar.2008 02:20

concerned person

Thank you for the input. I agree telling people not to go to an action crosses a line, people can make their own decisions. I apologize.

I just wanted to make it very clear that this is not a safe situation to put oneself in. I assume no one with much direct action experience would respond to a call out like this, but I wanted to make sure that people reading this who had not had much experience would think very hard before they rashly decided to go.

outcome 19.Mar.2008 22:06

insider

I cannot post details, but this action was effective to some degree.