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Today, just 9 days before facing a military court martial for refusing deployment to Iraq, Lt Ehren Watada spoke to an overflowing house at the Langston Hughes center in Seattle Washington. He is the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment, and has garnered enormous respect and support from the people of this country.
His keynote speech came at the end of a Seattle rally and march attracting at least 1000 people, protesting the war and Occupation of Iraq, as well as his upcoming court martial, scheduled for February 5, 2007 at Fort Lewis Washington. On that day there will be a gathering in support of his act of conscience, at the overpass to Interstate 5, exit 119, beginning sometime around noon.
On February 1st at 12 PM, the Olympia Poor People's Union (PPU) set up a tent encampment on city property. The date of the action intentionally corresponds with the city's implementation of an amended pedestrian interference code already in effect. The addition of Ordinance No. 6456n to the existing law criminalizes sidewalk sitting with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. This act of civil disobedience, the encampment, was carried out in response to growing discontentment amongst Olympia's poor people over the slow, systematic attempt at the dispossession of our city's homeless, orchestrated and supported by some city officials and business owners.
In addition, significant portions of the population of Olympia have taken on a generally dismissive and apathetic attitude towards the plight of those in need. This is the inception of an ongoing effort on the part of the PPU to find a sustainable, dignified way to address the issue of homelessness in this area, rather than to ignore it or to punish its victims.
City Refusing To Talk With The PPU!
After passing a serious of ridiculous laws banning sitting on the sidewalk, panhandling and busking, the City said they would give 200,000$ to the homeless. Regardless of the fact that 200,000$, divided among all the homeless in Olympia, cannot do anything, the City is not only threatening to take away the 200,00$, but they are refusing the even talk with us. There has been talk that the police may move in on us on Monday. So, refusing to talk with us or respect us as human beings, the City is ready to use force against us.
Please, tell everyone you know about what is going on here and, if you can, come down to the encampment. It is located on the corner of Capitol and Columbia, behind The Brotherhood bar.
On Friday, February 2, 2007 members of the Surge Protection Brigade in Portland, Oregon successfully blocked entrance to the Army/Marine Recruiting office on NE Broadway for two and a half hours. Emphasizing that many of them are grandmothers, they arrived at 7:45 AM with their rocking chairs. They rocked and stood in front of the three doors of the office, denying entrance to two recruiters and several visitors. At one point, frustrated recruiters physically pushed two of the protesters aside to squeeze through the back door. When two recruiters left to get breakfast they were denied re-entry and the accompanying police officer told them they would have to wait outside.
The police, after calling in enough reinforcements that they out-numbered demonstrators by about two to one, finally moved to arrest six of the grandmotherly protesters. They also took three rocking chairs into custody.
related: [ 6 arrested at the Recruiting Center || Surge Protection Brigade:Nonviolent Resisters will Return to Recruiting Center Friday ] week 2: [ Surge Protection Brigade ] week 1: [ Surge Protection Brigade Strikes Again: Nonviolent Resisters Shut Down Recruitment Center ]
This week the Schumacher Furs sale signs were affixed with labels reading, "last call," apparently signaling that the departure date is near (either that or they're using the old marketing technique of urgency to try to move their cruel product).
As of several weeks ago, officers are no longer stationed full time across the street from Schumacher. Make no mistake, they were not there continually over the past months because the protests actually warranted police presence, but to protect the city from Schumacher's threatened lawsuit in which they claim the police weren't doing their job. So, Schumacher has returned to the days of calling the police at every whim. And each time it has been affirmed that protesters are in fact not breaking the law.
Times are changing, the trend is toward increasing compassion, but Schumacher is a vanguard for the old, cruel ways. For more information about the brutal fur trade, see http://www.furisdead.com and http://www.furkills.org. Please join us each week as we protest the fur industry from 1p-5:30p each Saturday in front of Schumacher Furs, 811 SW Morrison. Hold a sign, pass out leaflets (much appreciated!), or just stop by and say hello.
Today the "Safety Lanyard Policy" at Franklin high school was put into effect. The policy stated that, "...all Franklin HS students will be required to wear safety identification lanyards with transparent sleeves for display of Franklin Student Body Cards." The student body cards feature student's full name, photograph, grade and identification number.
A week ago, I made a flier identifying the lanyards as a violation of privacy and an arbitrary rule. The school system is promoting mindless obedience by instituting a mandatory rule for vague and unclear reasons and forcing students to wear a lanyard and ID "for their own safety" is using fear to force students into obedience. I have the right not to follow rules without reasons and I have the right to withhold my personal information from anyone I choose. Please read more from my flier here.
A runaway train is heading our way, threatening to steamroll nearly every acre of our public forests, and its name is "forest biomass extraction." The corrupted and/or misguided proponents of this most recent attempt by the timber industry to cheat Americans out of their forests, (the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, colluding politicians and even some environmental groups) insist that the only response to rejuvenative wildfire should be to aggressively "thin" out every acre of healthy, native forest they can lay their hands on.
As it is essential to stop our nation's dependence on fossil fuels, some elements of NON-forest biomass should be supported, such as the use of crop residues, manure biogas, solid wastes and landfill gas. But once a "forest biomass" plant is built—like an old-growth sawmill—it will be driven by an insatiable hunger to devour ever more of our forests. Shredding any of our remaining 5% of native forests for an insignificant energy source is NOT the answer.
Native Forest Council (www.forestcouncil.org), Cascadia's Ecosystem Advocates and allies are building a coalition of citizen groups, elected officials and other concerned individuals to stop "forest biomass extraction" in its tracks.Please take a moment to contact Governor Ted Kulongoski and Senator Ron Wyden and urge them to oppose any projects based on fire hysteria and industry's greenwashed energy production, as well as any other form of extraction from our life-giving public forests.
Over 70 people met at 5th and Hall this evening. As we speak, Chimpy is going forward with his escalation in Iraq. A second aircraft carrier battle group will arrive in the Persian Gulf in February. Please let our senators know we demand the non-escalation resolution to be passed. Der Monkey's saber-rattling is disturbing. End the occupation now. Throw the bum out! Impeachment is not off the table.
There are increasing indications that the Bush administration intends to take military action against Iran. There are also indications that the administration would support military action by Israel against Iran.
The undersigned organizations issue this Open Letter to All Members of Congress, the Administration and the U.S. Armed Forces to reiterate their affirmative duties to prevent military action and to refrain from ongoing threats to peace.
Such military action would be illegal, and any member of the administration, the military or Congress supporting such action would b aiding and abetting this violation.
You've seen the commercials: Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) claims to have unlocked the secret to a mysterious "syndrome" that is "afflicting" many Americans. Dubbed "Restless leg syndrome," or RLS, this syndrome causes your legs to feel restless and irritable, as if they need to be stretched. It can interfere with your sleep at night, it can cause you discomfort and frustration, it can cause you to feel like you need to get up and move around. Lots of people have experienced these symptoms, and are probably jumping at the chance for relief. GSK says they have that relief, in a drug (recycled from use as a Parkinson's treatment) called Requip. But... Wait a minute.
Greek universities are paralyzed. More than half of faculties nation wide (Universities and Colleges) are occupied by the students who refuse the privatization of Greek education system .Every day General Assemblies are organized and new faculties are added to the list. At side of the students we find also the university lecturer, primary and secondary education teachers and several trade-unions.
In the center of this new social explosion is the government's will (with the explicit agreement of the party of opposition, the PASOK, Socialist Party) to revise Article 16 of the Greek Constitution. This article guarantees a high quality, free and especially public education for all Greek citizens. It declares without ambiguity that only the State can provide this service and that any private person is explicitly prohibited to do it in its place or in parallel.
It was just learned that the military will not be using any other NW port and they are definitely coming through Olympia. This all makes sense now for the following reasons.
1) Those arrested for their action during the last Port of Olympia protest have their court date on a day when there is likely to be shipments coming in.
2) New ordinances were just passed in Olympia banning sitting on the sidewalk. Some of the language in the ordinances can apply to protesters.
All of this points to a very disturbing amount of cooperation and communcation between the military, our local government and the county court system.
Estacada Stand for Peace -- There were 25 to 30 people standing against the war in Estacada today from noon to one o'clock. Many of you already know that there is a very active group of citizens in Estacada who meet regularly and stand in front of the City Hall each Sunday, holding signs and flags declaring their concerns about the present political climate in Washington D.C. Their steadfastness is inspirational. Though there was not a lot of traffic out there today, what did pass our way honked and waved and encouraged the stand for Peace. There were a few people who pointedly displayed their disagreement, but they were in a distinct minority. [read more]
MidGorge protests Iraq War -- Over 40 persons braved cold winds to carry banners and signs demanding peace on January 27 onto the Hood River 2nd Street freeway overpass, in solidarity with the antiwar march and rally in Washington DC; the nonviolent demonstration was sponsored by Columbria River Fellowship for Peace. Another 25 persons, in The Dalles, in a demonstration called by Wasco County Citizens for Human Dignity, protested the war with signs and banners on the town's main freeway overpass, but after a time were ordered off by police claiming the demonstration was distracting drivers and dangerous. [read more]
Bend, OR Peace March & Rally -- Grey, overcast skies and chilly temperatures couldn't keep a determined group of about 200 Central Oregonians from attending a Peace March & Rally in Solidarity with the United For Peace event in Washington, D.C. Saturday. Warm spirits overcame cold feet as we marched to the beat of our Stop-the-Damned-War Drum Corps. The march started out with organizers energizing the crowd with lively, albeit brief tunes and an announcement that our well-attended event was but one of over 275 such protest events occurring across America and in at least six international locations. Negril, Jamaica? We were a bit jealous of their weather... [read more]
The City of Portland's Peak Oil Task Force has released a draft report and is accepting public comments until February 12, 2007. The draft report, titled "Descending the Oil Peak: Navigating the Transition from Oil and Natural Gas," is available at http://www.portlandonline.com/osd/index.cfm?c=42894.
"The Task Force findings illustrate the enormous economic and social vulnerabilities and opportunities that could result as fuel supplies cease to be abundant and inexpensive," said Task Force Chair Bill Scott. "The magnitude of this issue led the Task Force to explore far-reaching solutions. Our lead recommendation is that Portland cut its oil and natural gas use in half over the next 25 years."
At least 1000 people took to the streets in Seattle WA. to oppose the Occupation of Iraq, first gathering at the Center for Social Justice on Union Avenue and then marching to the Langston Hughes Center, where Lt. Ehren Watada was to be the Keynote speaker.
Before the march a few speakers fired up the crowd. Especially memorable was a speech given by Eleanor Roosevelt, who rose from her place of rest to blast the Bush Administration. She was followed by brief statements by Veterans of the war in Iraq.
Along the way the crowd stopped off at the local military recruiters center, which was on the path of the march. They had been informed earlier in the morning that, due to an alleged break-in at the office the night before, they would not be allowed to protest at that location.
Washington, D.C. On a sunny day, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007, with the temperatures in the high-40s, the National Mall, was filled with protesters against the Iraqi War. A Who's Who list of speakers against the ongoing evildoings of the Bush-Cheney Gang let their voices be heard by the spirited crowd. The massive demonstration's prime sponsor was the United for Peace & Justice organization. They set the main stage for the event on 3rd St., NW, between Madison and Jefferson Avenues, fronting towards the fabled Lincoln Memorial. After the speakers' part of the program was finished at 1 PM, a noisy, chant-filled march paraded in an easterly direction, about a block away from the U.S. Capitol, and then circled back to its starting point. Workshops and Teach-Ins are set for this Sunday by organizers, and a "Lobby Day" is slated for Monday, the 29th, on Capitol Hill.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), was one of the four congressional leaders who spoke at the rally. He said: "Our government needs to get the message: Out of Iraq, immediately." Conyers is the new Chair of the House's Judiciary Committee. This is the committee which has jurisdiction over any possible impeachment proceedings. In a shot over President George W. Bush's bow, Conyers said that Bush likes to fire military advisors, who tell him he can't win the war, but "he can't fire you [the people]. He can't fire us [the Congress], but 'we can fire him.'" With that line a roar went up in the audience. The loud chant began: "Impeach Bush!"
It was a rare sunny, blue-sky January day in Olympia, suggesting that even Mother Nature wants an end to this illegal war and occupation in Iraq.
Well over 1,000 people turned out for this rally organized by the Veteran's for Peace, Rachel Corrie Chapter. People of all ages carried a wide range of signs and flags in solidarity with the DC anti-war protest.
The signs focused on the war and impeachment. One group had a banner that had tick marks for the 3,000 soldiers who were killed in Iraq. Another banner called on Bush to remember that Jesus stood for peace. A huge Bring Them Home sign captured the overall message of this gathering.
About 48 Vancouverites turned out today for the solidarity actions in DC. We held numerous hand-made signs, banners and flags under bright sunshine and cold, brisk winds. There tons of hornhonks. One reported several flip-offs to which he holds up TWO fingers! One guy came, arguing briefly, but didn't stick around.
I saw many familiar, beautiful friends, and lots of new ones. Mike T. took digital pictures and agreed to post them here.
Three of us were away. Marion Ward and Cindi Fisher are in DC for the march and lobbying, and Angie Lindquist is on a safari, after finishing up at the World Social Forum in Nairobe, Kenya.
Bring the troops home NOW. No more $ for the troop surge!
In solidarity with the peace marchers in D.C., we stood with our Peace flags on the foot bridge over Hwy 99 in Oregon City. We have brought our flags there several times, but it felt like a good place to start our day. There were many positive responses from drivers. Boy was it cold though! The wind was whipping up through that tunnel and nearly ripped the flags from our hands. A young couple stopped by as they walked over to the viewpoint for the Willamette Falls. The young woman, who works for the city of Oregon City, gave me her warm mittens and thanked us for what we were doing. I was very grateful, because without those gloves, I would have had to head for warmth a lot sooner.
From Oregon City, we went to the Oak Grove Vigil on McLoughlin and were very pleased to see that there were around 35 people standing along both sides of the roads with signs and flags. As most of you know, these folks come out every Saturday from noon to 1 o'clock. We were pleased by the many positive responses we received from those driving past. One elderly man in a rather large truck gave us the thumbs down, but now I know at least one of the 28%ers. Looked a lot like Karl Rove.
For the second Friday in a row, the Military Career Recruiting Center at NE 13th & Broadway locks down rather than face "angry Grannies".
The Surge Protection Brigade, a coalition of long time peace activists, many of them mothers and grandmothers, went to the recruiting center today and were greeted with locked doors, despite the sign saying, "OPEN. WALK IN"
People were prepared to be arrested to stop recruiting, but are happy that recruiting was blocked without an arrest.
Troy and I arrived about 1300, (1 PM) and met with a staff member who listened to us and accepted our letter.
Apparently he did not read the letter because when 1700 (5PM) came around he told us we had to leave without answering our request in writing --- we refused to leave. There was some confusion as what to do next. The staff wanted to go home and we wanted to stay to get an answer to our letter. Security was called and asked us to leave, we said no because we did not get an answer to our question. Security called the PD and we all waited. When the police arrived, they seemed upset that we had taken them away from arresting the bad guys --- to deal with this sit in. We told the police that we would be willing to accept a written statement from a representative of Sen. Smith saying that he would not vote for any future funding of the war or occupation of Iraq. Stand off.
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