[pjw] REPORT BACK: Missing foreign policy -- Friday rally #46 under stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Feb 6 15:37:29 EST 2021

PJW supporters

Once again at last night's Friday Rally for Peace and Justice, four of us 
came together at the SW corner of Pioneer Courthouse Square at 5 PM 
(distanced, masked) and three went on the march. We got quite a few people 
walking and driving by expressing support, including one who was drawn in 
by the police accountability messages but left with an Iraq flyer. Along 
the route we were heckled by someone demanding a lighter for his 
cigarette, but then thanked by a young African American man who assured us 
to keep going because "America is the evil Empire in Star Wars."

At the rally here are some of the things we talked about regarding the 
week's news in peace and justice issues:

--President Biden gave his first speech on foreign policy this week, 
leaving out a few important words. Foremost: "Iraq," "Afghanistan," 
"Syria," "Libya," and "Somalia," five countries where the US is actively 
at war. He did, however, talk about ending support for "offensive 
operations" by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen. To 
which we agreed all military operations in Yemen are "offensive."


(For more about the "wiggle room" in Biden's carefully worded statement, 
see Foreign Policy:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/02/05/biden-ends-u-s-support-for-yemen-war )

--The speech also focused on China and Russia as the two biggest potential 
adversaries for the US.


--Biden also mentioned Iran, but his administration is checking in with 
allies before rejoining the "nuclear deal" instead of lifting sanctions 
and reversing Trump's policy right away.


--Also in the "Trump's ideas aren't going away soon" category, the US is 
recognizing discredited opposition leader Juan Guaido rather than Nicolas 
Maduro as the leader of Venezuela. Seems the same as if Venezuela decided 
to recognize Trump rather than Biden, but with no nuclear weapons to back 
it up. (Oh and by the way, the word "Venezuela" wasn't in the speech 
either, nor did he mention North Korea.)


--And while the 700 troops left Somalia last month to great fanfare and 
handwringing by some, other American troops have gone in on a "training 


--Among the 7 countries the US has bombed since 9/11, I left off Pakistan 
because there hasn't been a US drone strike there since July 2018. However 
in lingering fallout from America's "brilliant" idea of using a fake 
vaccine program to hunt for Osama Bin Laden, many Pakistanis don't believe 
COVID is real.


--Finally there's some possible good news coming out of international 

----the International Court of Justice agreed to hear the case Iran 
brought against the US, saying the sanctions violate a 1955 treaty:


----and the International Criminal Court agreed to hear war crimes charges 
invoked by Palestinians for incidents in their territories.


In local news, I relayed that Portland Copwatch released the data on 
statewide law enforcement deadly force incidents in 2020. There were 35 
incidents last year-- the same as in 2019, even though we had a pandemic 
going on. Only two were in Portland (and neither one resulted in injury or 
death). Since 2010, when PCW started gathering data, there've been an 
average of 28 incidents a year, with at least 99 municipalities and 27 of 
Oregon's 36 counties involved.


Along the march route, at the place where we talk about Israel / 
Palestine, I noted that the Senate had voted to support Trump's moving the 
US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, despite that violating 
international laws and norms. It was not a close vote where the Vice 
President had to cast a tiebreaker. In fact it was a 97-3 vote, and our 
two Senators Wyden and Merkley both agreed to support the move. Only 
Senators Sanders, Warren and Tom Carper voted no.


As we headed back to our starting point, in the "money for human needs not 
war" segment I talked about how the Portland Police Bureau is demanding 
that their budget only be cut by 1% while all other City agencies face 5% 
cuts. This is ridiculous since so many officers have resigned or retired, 
the so-called staffing shortage isn't a budget issue at all.


This week the Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign Sign froze in the same 
place it did last week--  the rally, on the block between 4th/5th on 
Yamhill. The words "US Out" remained on the sign until the next block, 
when it went dark.

As always, we welcome folks to join us, we're happy to have up to 25 
people at the event (though we'll split onto two corners once we get past 
12). Also hope you marked your calendars for the special rally on Friday 
March 19 to mark 18 years since the US invasion of Iraq.


Stay safe and well and let's keep pushing for peace.

dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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