[pjw] USS Portland: Media Ignores Protest Against $2 Billion Warship inPortland (April 21, 2018)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sun Apr 22 18:48:56 EDT 2018

(Note: This page can be seen with graphics at
http://pjw.info/ussportland042118.html .
We sent this to the media a few moments ago.

     by Dan Handelman, Peace and Justice Works

     On Saturday, April 21, the USS Portland was officially commissioned at
     the Port of Portland on the west side of the Willamette River. Directly
     across from the estimated 6000 people at the commissioning ceremony,
     activists erected a 20 foot wide, 7 foot tall banner reading "No War."



     All four TV stations and at least three local newspapers covered the
     commissioning ceremony. Only one paper-- Willamette Week -- noted there
     was a demonstration on the west side by anti-war activists.
     KPTV-12 also spoke to the west side demonstrators.*

     The papers and TV stations seemed to be deliberately cropping their
     photos to ignore the giant banner which was clearly visible from the
     ship's vantage point.





     http://www.oregonlive.com/expo/erry-2018/04/3133477cf33534/index.html )
     Portland Tribune:

     A photographer working with Peace and Justice Works, which organized
     the banner protest, was able to get on board the ship and take photos,
     including this one of a weapon aimed close to the protest.


     The photographer reports that the navy crew was joking about how in
     another time and place they would have blown away the demonstrators.

     In March, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler proclaimed April 21 to be "USS
     Portland Day" to honor the giant warship's commissioning. This
     "amphibious landing dock" has two anti-air missile systems, two 30MM
     anti-surface guns, nine 50 caliber anti-surface machine guns, and
     according to Naval Today, an experimental laser weapon. Peace and
     Justice Works (PJW) asked the Mayor to withhold the proclamation seeing
     as in 2012, Portland City Council adopted a policy for redirecting
     funds from wars to human needs.
     Several of our Mayors have supported
     similar resolutions at the National Conference of Mayors. One
     resolution passed in 2017 asks cities to direct department heads to
     consider what they could accomplish if money now being spent on the
     military were redirected for local use. It called attention to the fact
     that even "fractions of the ... military budget could provide free,
     top-quality education from pre-school through college, end hunger and
     starvation on earth, convert the U.S. to clean energy, provide clean
     drinking water everywhere it's needed on the planet, build fast trains
     between all major U.S. cities."

     The proclamation states that the USS Portland will "protect our nations
     [sic] interests but also provide aid during emergencies such as
     earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes or other disasters." When Iraq was
     under United States and United Nations sanctions, our country refused
     to let in hundreds of items the Iraqi people desperately needed,
     including tires for their ambulances. The federal government claimed
     those items were "dual use" for both civilian and military. Just as it
     was a morally imprecise stretch to prevent tires from reaching the
     Iraqi public because they might be used for military purposes, it is a
     stretch in the other direction to praise a warship because it may
     someday be used for humanitarian relief efforts. Mayor Wheeler echoed
     his contention that the ship was for humanitarian purposes in his
     comments at the ceremony.

     A little research turned up the cost of this floating behemoth-- two
     billion dollars. The commissioning ceremony itself is costing hundreds
     of thousands of dollars and is predictably (but dishonorably) being
     supported by dozens of companies who profit from war including Northrop
     Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing and Insitu (which have plants in Oregon) and
     Wilsonville's FLIR Systems (which makes infrared devices to help target
     "the enemy").

     When warships visit our waterfront during the Rose Festival, we are now
     met with signs that say "No Trespassing-- US Navy Restricted Area-- USE

     It is unfortunate that the Navy has decided to name such a warship
     after our City. Given the current international tensions, Portland
     should refrain from praising military spending when our housing, roads,
     parks, schools and other critical infrastructure are under-funded and
     crumbling, and given the US military's role as the world's largest
     institutional driver of climate change. As Martin Luther King, Jr.
     said: "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on
     military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching
     spiritual death."


     * RT (formerly known as Russia Today) also covered the west side

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