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On February 24, 2007, a protest/rally/carnival was held at military recruitment center in Tacoma, WA. This action was planned in coordination with same-day events in Bellingham and Olympia.
We may have easily been outnumbered by police, with a count of 9 cop cars, at least 4 bicycle cops, and one van. Plus the littering of cop cars, bike cops, and even a paddy wagon around the Tacoma mall parking lot wasted some of the State's money and resources, and demonstrated the city of Tacoma's distrust of its residents mobilizing for the interests of the people.
But we held signs, expressed to passersby our opposition to the war and complicity of recruiters in sending people to die and kill for elite interests, handed out some counter-recruitment information to passersby, and some participants went into the center to "get some info about joining the military." A banner reading "END WAR - STOP RECRUITING" was discovered nearby over I-5 the same day.
Thursday, February 15th was just like any other morning for me. I woke up at six, went down to breakfast and ate with my friends. I came back to my cell and turned on the morning news. My cellie went back to sleep, covering his eyes from the light of the TV as I made a cup of coffee.
I had just started paying attention when the ticker at the bottom of the screen read, 'The man who set fire to three SUVs as an environmental protest, will serve a shorter sentence than originally planned.'
Jeffrey Free Luers desperately needs financial support!
All of us are still digesting the positive news from last week regarding Jeff's appeal and we wanted everyone to know how grateful we are to each and every one of you that has supported Jeff over the years in whatever way you could. Jeff has garnered support from all over the world and we never could have imagined that this could have happened back when Jeff was first arrested almost 7 years ago now.
In the coming months we will be finding out more about Jeff's re-sentencing - the court date and possible outcome, etc. - and in the meantime we need your support more than ever. To put it simply, Jeff needs money. Jeff's legal costs and attorney fees, on top of on-going daily expenses, are just something that can't be covered with our current bank account and financial support.
Eight days after its official beginning, the general strike continues in Guinea. The production of C.G.B, the second leading Bauxite producer in the world, has been halted, the workers also having stopped the trains carrying ore, while the production of the other consortium continues to grind towards a halt (provoking incendiary inflation in the prices of bauxite and aluminum on the world market). All economic activities are paralysed.
Olympia, WA, February 22, 2007 - Olympia Port Militarization Resistance (OlyPMR), a local grassroots organization, has launched a campaign to end the community's participation in the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq. OlyPMR seeks to prevent the US military from using the Port of Olympia to ship equipment to Iraq as part of President Bush's escalation of the conflict. Olympia Port Militarization Resistance plans public education, lobbying and non-violent civil disobedience designed to end the community's participation in the illegal occupation of Iraq by stopping the US military's use of the Port of Olympia.
Since the US invasion in 2003, the US Army has shipped equipment bound for Iraq through the Port of Olympia. The shipments to Iraq mark the first time in over fifteen years that the Port of Olympia has accepted military cargo. According to Olympia City Councilman TJ Johnson "a majority of Americans and local residents oppose the continued occupation of Iraq, and an even stronger majority oppose Bush's escalation. Using the Port of Olympia to ship equipment to Iraq goes against the will of the majority in the US and within our own community. Therefore, we have a democratic responsibility to resist."
For a 61 year old woman, I had a terrifically interesting day. On Wednesday, February 20, 2007 I got arrested - along with another 78 year old woman named Dot. We entered Sen. Gordon Smith's office and asked the receptionist if we couldn't speak to Senator Smith or one of his aides. We were informed that Senator Smith was in Salem today - and no aide except one involved with immigration issues was present in the office today. I asked if Sen. Smith or his aides would be in his office tomorrow and I was told that in order to speak to the senator a voter would have to submit a request in writing. The receptionist's answer was an acceptable response - but she ignored the fact I had just indicated that we would be willing to speak to one of his aides in consideration of the busy senator's schedule. I did not believe a "written request should be necessary to speak to one of the senator's aides so at this point I wondered, "Does this senator believe he has any obligation to the citizen - to his fellow Oregonians?" Why wouldn't a telephone call provide the senator OR one of his aides with sufficient notice that one of his constituents had a desire to express an opinion on an important and pressing issue such as the Iraq war. I felt that the receptionist was being evasive - and that the senator was prepared to duck and dodge any request for a serious conversation on the issue. At this point, I did sit down and wrote out a letter requesting some time with the senator, himself, within 7 working days since I felt that the effort of a written request warranted more than a few moments with one of the senator's office staff.
More Arrests At Senator Gordon Smith's Office
Wednesday afternoon Dot Lukins and Kathleen Bushman went up to Senator Gordon Smith's office to talk about their concerns about the Iraq war. They were told that there was no one in the office that could talk to them. They wanted to express their hope that the Senator would vote in a manner consistent with his statements about the war and therefore vote to defund the Iraq war. When they said they would not leave until receiving assurance that Senator Smith would agree to de-fund the war, they were arrested. Why did these two women who have never been previously arrested take this action? Dot (73) took this action because "I grieve when I see the names this week of 26 American young people killed, and when I see the young maimed in body and mind from this misbegotten war". Kathleen (61) says "I realized that if my own words mean anything, I too should take more effective action on behalf of all our fine young men and women- I would very much like to see them come home alive" Sen. Smith's constituents will continue to step forward. The "Grannies/Surge Protection Brigade" will be doing civil resistance today (22nd) and other people will continue the effort over the coming weeks. They will stop when Senator Smith does the one thing he can do to stop the war, which is to defund the war.
Olympia's Constitution in Crisis: The Case for Impeachment drew over 800 people, almost filling the Washington Center on Tuesday, February 20, 2007.
Elizabeth de la Vega, David Lindorff and Ray McGovern made compelling arguments about the need to impeach Bush/Cheney. Each stressed that impeachment is necessary to restore the Constitution. While the list of impeachable offenses is long, de la Vega pointed out that incompetence was not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind. They also poked holes in the various "arguments" given by Democrats. Unlike the Clinton impeachment, de la Vega stated, the violations of law by Bush/Cheney are serious abuses of power and impeachment was intended to remedy those abuses. All agreed that the evidence was overwhelming and that the impeachment process would be swift. They rejected the belief that impeachment would harm the Democrats. Lindorff noted that the Democrats would be harmed by not taking action, especially if the Republicans decide to take the lead on impeaching Bush/Cheney. McGovern asked that if lying to get us into war, illegal wiretaps, dismissing the basic protections granted in the Bill of Rights and creating a unitary executive through signing statements are not impeachable, than what is?Olympia Town Meeting: The Video
Ralph Nader was in Portland on February 13, 2007, appearing at the Baghdad Theater to speak about his new book, "17 Traditions." "I've never written a book like this before, and I want to explain why I wrote it, in addition to being a love story, for my mom and dad and my sisters and brother.
"I wrote it because...if you are looking for active citizens to help you make a better country or community, after a while you run out of exhortations and you ask yourself, 'how do we get more active citizens?'"
"Sometimes you have a demonstration, you have a march, people come and they connect, or somebody has a tragedy and forms something like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Or they might come out of the Universities, perchance, having some sort of mission, whether in science, engineering, politics, economics, organizing, whatever. But it's never enough, there are never enough active citizens."
About 6 of us stood outside with signs and flags, while 5 went inside. Read about it below.
Vancouver was busting its image today for the Iraq War as Gen. Peter Pace came to speak at Hudson's Bay High School. Under sunny skies about 6 of us stood below the school at the corner of Mill Plain and Reserve. We were told we could not be on school property, so we were delegated to the "Free Speech Zone." I tested it by walking into the driveway about 50' and got to see fellow citizens walk or drive inside. I cannot fathom their interest or support.
I went back to the group at the corner during the speech. I knew there were some of us going inside. Sure enough! Mike E. was the first to stand up and unfurl his sign, shortly after Pace began. He had to listen to our military mayor say he thanks God every day that our country has the "strongest military in the world." YUK! Mike said he stood about 45 seconds before being told by police he had to leave and not come back. Then Danny and his mother came walking down as they had done the same thing. Police checked their ID. Then Angie and Joy came out. Angie's rolled-up sign was stuck in her sweater sleeve and she and Joy jiggled around to get it out! They stood and were told to leave and not come back.
over 50 people braved the rain and cold tonight to call out Bush's failed policy in Iraq.
Even Bush's lapdog Tony Blair announced that Great Britain is bringing the soldiers home. We must keep the heat on all of our elected representatives. Here in Oregon, we must include Greg Walden as a cheerleader for the failed Bush policy's. Did you see his vote last week on the non-surge resolution? He also voted for the war in 2003. He does not represent Oregon anymore than Gordon Smith does when it comes to the Iraq occupation policy.
Over 125 neighbors, business people and allied partners in the effort to find an alternative to the proposed big box store on NE 82nd and Siskiyou rallied together on Saturday, February 17 to show their solidarity to preserving neighborhood livability. Rally attendees brought along their children, dogs, fellow neighbors and friends, showing the strong community ties of the neighborhood's diverse population. Numerous students from nearby Madison High School were also present, showing their concern over such a large development across from their school.
Citing anxiety about increased traffic, safety of nearby students at schools, and economic damage to local shopping districts, the rally gathered at Glenhaven Park to hear neighborhood leaders speak about the Big Box permit application process and the status of the current proposal. Leaders also pumped up the crowd and vowed to find a positive solution for finding a win-win solution for both the land owner and the neighborhood.
Last Monday, Feb. 12, 2007, an overflow crowd was gathered at the Portland pPublic School Board meeting in part to express frustration and provide testimonials against a fast track corporate-produced textbook adoption that is being proposed system-wide at a cost of over $4 million.
Three education advocates spoke with me before the public testimony about their reasons for being there. They were there to urge Superintendent Vicki Phillips and the board to listen to the teachers and pay attention to what's already working in the schools as opposed to attempting a "quick-fix" through dumbed-down, homogenized, and previously digested text.
We had a great showing of about 30+ people, made up of PPRC, Code Pink, Surge Protection Brigade, the Surging Grannies, and other groups in the peace movement that I am not fully versed on! It seemed like two groups of people entered by the driveway area where we all were making a helluva lot of noise, and neither group seemed larger than about 12-15 people...
The protest was mentioned by one of the facilitators when Smith was trying to avoid a question on Iraq. The question asked the Senators what "actions" they would take to end the war. The person asking the questions said he was tired of "talk". The reporter clearly made Smith address the defunding issue. The reporter clearly stated why the protesters outside the TV studio had the message to: "Defund the War".
Wyden and Smith did not give clear answers on any future actions they will take...
Washington State Senator Eric Oemig will be speaking at the town hall meeting -- Constitution in Crisis: The Case for Impeachment -- February 20th, in Olympia. Elizabeth de la Vega, David Lindorff and Ray McGovern are the featured speakers.
Events: book signing, petition signing, and open mic
Where: Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington SE, Olympia, WA
When: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Free! Free! Free!
Impeachment is On the Table In Washington
On February 14th, over 100 people crowded into Senate hearing 2 to witness Washington State Senator Eric Oemig place impeachment on the table. This joint memorial (SJM 8016) Requesting an impeachment investigation into actions by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, was co-sponsored by Senators Fairley, Fraser, Kauffman, Kline, Kohl-Welles, Prentice, Regala, and Spanel.
This memorial petitions Congress to conduct an investigation of the president and the vice president. The bill lists a number of serious allegations, including using deceptive information about the war, deliberately misrepresenting the severity of the threat from Iraq to take us into war, conducting electronic surveillance of Americans without any warrant, and stripping Americans of their constitutional rights solely on the discretion of the President.
related: [ Oemig to introduce bill on impeachment in Washington | Washington State Senator - putting impeachment on the table! | Why Removing Bush and Cheney Matters | Impeachment by the People | The people want impeachment! ]
My day of protest was put off until Friday because I had my grandkids come over for the day on Thursday. Friday was interesting for me because I attended two protests, one with Chapter 72 and then later with "DeFund the War" at Gordon Smith's fortress. I went over to the Federal Building because I want Sen. Wyden to know we are watching what the dems are doing.
The reaction from security at the Fed building was almost comical, one protester with a sign that said Enough!!! on one side and Freedom!!! on the other caused so much movement of security people that I had to laugh. I spent most of my time across the street with Chapter 72 and the Ladies in Black----wonderful group. At 1:15 headed down to my date to support people who were going to do an action at or in Gordon Smith's office. I met some friends who have been to some of the same protests as I have attended. I also met new and noble humans who are also trying to stop this madness, called the occupation of Iraq. I should explain something here, I am not a member of any group here in Portland, I call myself the lone vet because I go where I think I am needed; so what I am about to say is my own opinion.
At the Boise Neighborhood Association Special Topic Forum Concerning Land Use that was held on Saturday morning, February 10, several city officials spoke about the impending 4-story condominium developments that are planned for Mississippi Avenue. According to Jeff Joslin of the Portland Bureau of Development Services, the new developments will constitute 20-25% of the entire block face. Currently, there are no condominiums and no buildings over 2 stories. Construction is scheduled to begin by the end of this month.
There has been an ongoing conflict between some of the community members and three of the big money developers poised to begin building on Mississippi Avenue (Mississippi Avenue Lofts (MAL), Kirusu International Headquarter/Garden, and the Mississippi Chateau). The dispute concerns city code title 17 that requires new developments in high pedestrian corridors, such as ours, to provide a 12 foot sidewalk. In order to make room for expanding the already-existing sidewalk to 12 feet, the Portland Department of Transportation (PDOT) requires new developments to set back new buildings two feet from the current property line.
In May 2006, hundreds of US Army combat vehicles called Strykers rolled through the streets of our town and into our port for shipment to the war in Iraq. It wasn't the first time convoys of military equipment had been shipped to the war through the Port of Olympia, but never before did the cargo present such an immediate and visually graphic connection with that war.
Over the objections of many in the community, the military had resumed its use of the Port in 2004 after a 17-year hiatus. And although, by May 2006, community members had spent two years actively opposing military shipments through a variety of avenues, there was never a plan for how to respond or intervene as the shipments actually occurred.
So it wasn't until May 24, 2006, on Day Four of this military shipment, with nearly all its cargo already parked safely inside the Port fence, that a coordinated act of civil disobedience brought the convoy to a temporary halt. As a caravan of Strykers rounded the first curve at the southern end of Marine Drive, escorted by the Olympia Police Department, a dozen people stepped into the road and dozens more stood along the roadside providing a supportive presence and witness.
Walmart is setting there sights on property just north of Vancouver,WA.
There are already three Walmarts in Vancouver. In my opinion, that's three to many. The sight is located off of 134th street just east of I-205. That's just 3 miles or so north of an existing walmart that is located off of Highway 99. It seems that the nieghborhood isn't in favor of a walmart being built here but the corporations money may trump the desire of people who live here. Hopefully it doesn't get built. Boycott Walmart and let them know they are not welcome here. I'm trying to do a paper on this but without a bias. If anyone has any leads or suggestions, I would like to hear them.
Video of February 2007 rally by the Portland Oromo Community association against brutal, tyrannical and ruthless Minority led government of the Ethiopian Empire.
Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, under the banner of "fighting the Islam extremists" in Somalia went to hunt the Oromo people in daylight and committed mass murder. These are Oromo refugees who have lived in Somalia to escape the atrocity of successive oppressive Ethiopian regimes, beginning over 30 years ago with the communist Dergue, to the current regime of Meles Zenawi . The situations in the Horn of Africa, including the condition of Oromo refugees in Somalia, with the gross human right violations in Oromia are now worse than ever.
The Portland Oromo community had a rally in February 2007 to inform the Portland community of the plight of the Oromo people. There will be a live broadcast on 2/17/07 on channel 22 at 7:00 pm to discuss these issues in greater detail. This show is being produced by the Independent Black Producers Organization of Portland Oregon, and the Portland Oromo Community Association wishes to thank them for all their hard work in helping us get our message out to the general public.
Captain Paul Watson, from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has refuted Japanese claims that two whalers were injured during an engagement between the Sea Shepherd vessel 'Robert Hunter' and the 'Nisshin Maru' on Friday. Sea Shepherd activists threw 6 one litre bottles of foul smelling but non-toxic butyric acid to the flensing deck of the 'Nisshin Marun' Whaling Factory Ship.
Before the engagement between the Sea Shepherd vessel 'Robert Hunter' and the 'Nisshin Maru', Sea Shepherd called for the Nisshin Maru to cease all whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary as sanctioned in international law and treaties: "Nisshin Maru, this is Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd vessel Farley Mowat. Please be advised that you are killing whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary. You are targeting endangered species of whales in violation of international conservation law. You are killing whales in violation of the IWC global moratorium on commercial whaling. Please cease and desist your illegal whaling operations and leave the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary. We are acting in accordance with the principles of the United Nations World Charter for Nature. The Charter authorizes non-governmental organizations and individuals to uphold international conservation law."
Attempts were made by Sea Shepherd activists on the Robert Hunter and activists in zodiacs from the Farley Mowat to disable the Nisshin Maru. Several attempts were made to foul the propellors of the Nisshin Maru through the use of tow lines, and buoys and netting. Activists also sealed drainpipes from the flensing deck by the placement of steel plates over the drains, thus leading to the backup of blood and liquids from slaughtering the whales on the flensing deck. http://www.seashepherd.org
My name is Ray Kavick, anarchist and member of the Olympia Poor People's Union (PPU). This is a short reflection on the first week of an encampment we set up in Downtown Olympia on Thursday, February 1st. We called the encampment Camp Quixote. This piece is not that comprehensive, but gets the basic story out there. My comments DO NOT represent those of the PPU. The PPU is a non-hierarchical group dedicated to improving the lives of the poor and "homeless" in Olympia by whatever means available.
The first tents were awkwardly set up with the people at the campsite looking over their shoulder every once in a while. I felt that many of us were waiting for the police to come immediately. During the planning meetings, it was assumed by nearly everybody that we would be at the site for an hour at most. When the first five tents went up and an hour had passed, none of us were completely sure what to do. But that soon passed, the group got together and we decided to go ahead and put as many tents and as many people on the sight as quickly as possible.
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