The Tahoma Activist

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Aberdeen port protestors speak out

I just received this urgent communication from the organizers of the Aberdeen port protests. I've pulled out the most relevant passages, excerpted below.

(Olympia, WA)
After six days of peaceful protest at the Port of Grays Harbor, the ship has sailed. Local and regional citizens protested shipments of military equipment to support and escalate the United States illegal occupation of Iraq. Protesters were subjected to intimidation by law enforcement, including forced herding into a single “free speech zone,” and silencing by intimidation of police tactics including their videotaping of license plates, random traffic stops on false pretenses, and demand of identification without cause.

Why these protests mattered

Activists identified their primary objective as “stopping our tax dollars from being spent on international war crimes, and a supplemental funding bill that 70 percent of the people deplore.” Aberdeen activist, Mary Kaye Riley said “I oppose the use of our port for the shipments of materiel to kill innocent people, to destroy their culture, their infrastructure, their livelihoods, their lives. Through our government’s actions, we are in the position of supporting an immoral and illegal war which we must stop.”

A January 2007 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study reflects the real troop increase as high as 48,000.[1] President Bush’s escalation policy more than doubles the 21,500 soldiers that he has claimed.

Further, cost estimates run five times higher than those cited by the President.

Why Iraq needs helicopters

The air combat brigade will increase the U.S.-led forces' helicopter fleet by 34%. Also coming are 3,200 pilots, crew members, mechanics and other support personnel.

Helicopters are increasingly important because insurgent attacks have made ground transport dangerous in many areas of Iraq. The Port of Grays Harbor saw the UH-60 Black Hawk loaded aboard the Cape Henry, which is used to shuttle cargo and large equipment to Iraq. Fleets used in Iraq also includes the UH-1 Huey and the AH-64 Apache.[4] Note: the Kiowas shipped out of the Grays Harbor Port are not used in Iraq. Port Militarization Resisters believe the Kiowas are being shipped for use in Iran.

Almost 4,000 other support troops are expected, in addition to 21,500 additional troops already committed to Iraq. This further alarms war opponents who see the escalation as a back-door method of rushing more troops into an immoral and illegal occupation. All told, the buildup will bring the U.S. troop level in Iraq to 160,000.

Protesters want the public and the world to know we have violated international criminal law, under the Hague Conventions, the Nuremburg Principles, the UN Security Council resolution. The war’s brutality and human suffering, and the exposure of children and returning soldiers to depleted uranium, constitutes grave crimes with tremendous global and trans-generational impact. We are seeing birth defects in children born to soldiers that match those found in children in Baghdad. Beyond that, we have occupied ancient cities, destroyed irreplaceable historic buildings and sites that, ironically, gave birth to the western culture.

The people's veto

Citizens concerned about use of the port to escalate the illegal occupation of Iraq and threat to Iran with possible attacks from Kiowa helicopter missile fire plan to attend the Port of Grays Harbor Commission meeting on Thursday, May 10 at 9:00. The meeting will be held at the Port of Grays Harbor administrative offices, located at 111 S. Wooding Street, Aberdeen, Washington 98520. Written comments may be submitted to the same address or faxed to (360) 533-9505.

“Silence on the part of good Americans in response to genocide, and further threats of illegal war for corporate benefit—is not acceptable. We must act to stop ongoing occupation,” observed Wes Hamilton, Viet Nam era veteran.

We must exercise the people's veto.

Categories: Revolution, War & Peace, Local Events

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