[pjw] REPORT BACK: Friday rally #39 under stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Dec 19 13:27:04 EST 2020

Greetings supporters of peace and justice

The 999th Friday Rally for Peace and Justice last night began with a 
five-person crowd under dry skies and ended with three marchers as the 
rain began to fall. We had a semi-regular heckler, an African American man 
who is obsessed with his support for President Trump but never seems to 
believe us when we say how many drone strikes, airstrikes and military 
provocations his Nobel Peace Prize nominee has undertaken. But we also had 
plenty of people honking horns and even one woman parking her car 
along the march route who said "thank you for what you're doing!" We 
stayed masked up and a safe distance apart.

As usual we used the rally and march to educate the public (and each 
other) about local, national and international issues of concern. These 
are some of the headlines we covered:

As much as people joke about the President being chummy with Russian 
leader Vladimir Putin, the US has continued its rivalry with that country, 
including imposing sanctions on US allies who buy Russian weapons. After 
over a year of debate, the Treasury Department decided to put sanctions on 


This info came shortly after I saw words I was hoping never to see in the 
news again after hundreds of thousands of deaths 1990-2003: US 
warns Iraq of sanctions, in this case due to proposed Russian arms 
purchases. (I hope this URL works for you, it has a comma in it, which is 
very unusual.)


Our new semi-regular attendee tipped me off to this long story in the 
Intercept about death squads in Afghanistan organized by the CIA. I 
reflected on how the US created such death squads among locals to do their 
dirty work in Latin America in the 1980s. The article indicates this is 
part of the US strategy of how to put down "terrorism" after the troop 


Speaking of which, as noted last week both chambers of Congress had 
veto-proof majorities to pass the (bloated) defense bill, which includes a 
requirement of (United States) national security review in order to pull 
more troops out of Afghanistan. Trump has threatened to veto the 
National Defense Authorization Act because of this provision, even though 
it means Congress will likely, in a rare move, over-ride a Presidential 


In local news, I talked about the Portland Police Bureau's annual report, 
which under the US Dept. of Justice Settlement Agreement has to come out 
each year, including presentations in each of the city's three police 
precinct areas and one to City Council. The idea is to promote 
transparency and community engagement. However, there were no precinct 
presentations this year and the Council agenda item lasted for exactly 8 
minutes on Wednesday, including the introduction and the vote to accept 
the report. No public input was taken despite Portland Copwatch asking in 
advance for that to happen.


To contextualize the next story I talked about how we regularly examine 
US-Israeli relations and Israel's occupation of Palestine, which is based 
on the analysis of (selectively chosen) geopolitical concerns by the US, 
where their interest in Israel strategically outweighs human rights. To 
criticize Israeli policy, I noted, is not anti-semitic. I felt that was 
necessary to say when I noted that (a) the US has a special antisemitism 
monitor (who knew?) and (b) Congress has decided to make that position an 


Along the route where PPRC member Herschel always used to raise 
Israel/Palestine issues, I brought up a specific story. Focusing on one 
major area of the human rights abuses (and flaunting of many UN 
resolutions), I noted that the Israeli Knesset (parliament) voted (in what 
appears to be the first of three steps to make it law) to legalize 65 
settlements in Palestinian territories. This despite an Israeli high court 
previously ruling this is illegal.


When we got to the spot to talk about money for human needs, not war, I 
noted that an appeals court overturned a federal judge's ruling that had 
said Trump could not spend money that wasn't appropriated for the purpose 
on his border wall. The appeals court threw that out, saying the 
organizations who filed suit didn't have legal standing.


As part of the rally I also made announcements of upcoming events, three 
of which are specially themed Friday rallies (and one of which I haven't 
shared out yet as we just decided this on Monday).

Friday December 25, 5 PM Friday Rally:
   1000th rally & march for peace and justice!!
   Watch the promo video:

Friday, January 8, 4:30 PM Friday Rally (early start time):
   "No More Excuses: Shut Down Guantanamo!"

Tuesday, January 12, 7:00 PM streaming event on YouTube:
   "Illustrating Imprisonment: Sarah Mirk Presents 'Guantanamo Voices'"

Friday, January 15, 5 PM Friday Rally:
   "30 Years Too Long: US Out of Iraq"
   marking 30 years since the start of the "Gulf War."

The Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign stayed on until the middle of 
the block between 4th/5th on Yamhill, the south side of mall, one block 
more than the last two weeks. I tried to get a TV station that was doing a 
live report with the holiday tree in the background to pay attention to 
the sign and the upcoming 1000th rally, but the camera operator was 
clearly unimpressed.

Anyway, whether or not you can make it down for that inauspicious event 
next Friday, and if you are in the position to do so, please consider an 
end-of-year donation to PJW. We always appreciate it!

--dan handelman
Peace and Justice Works
    Iraq Affinity Group
    PO Box 42456
    Portland, OR   97242
    (503) 236-3065
    iraq at pjw.info
    Donate on line: http://www.pjw.info/pjwdonate.html

More information about the pjw-list mailing list