[pjw] REPORT BACK: Syria deaths- Friday rally #49 under stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Feb 27 16:23:50 EST 2021

Peace and Justice Works supporters

Last night before heading up to the corner of SW Yamhill and Broadway for 
the weekly Friday rally for peace and justice, I stopped by the center of 
Pioneer Courthouse Square and talked with folks from "Nurses for Black 
Lives" who recently moved their weekly vigils from Friday mornings to 
Fridays at 4 PM. They were very happy to learn about our event and 
impressed with the Ann Huntwork sign flashing names of people killed by 
the police.

At our event, there were three of us masked up and distanced who rallied 
and marched. We had a good number of cars honking in support.

Of course the big topic for the day at the rally was President Biden's 
bombing of an alleged militia group in Syria. Since yesterday's news, I 
noted that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes killed 
22 people.


I pointed out that the strike was (a) not authorized by Congress, (b) not 
authorized by international law (since it was not "self-defense" as Biden 
is claiming, as there was no imminent threat, (c) not even appropriately 
retaliatory as the group targeted did not claim responsibility for the 
missile strike in Northern Iraq last week, and (d) not proportional since 
that original attack only killed one contractor.

While this militarism is not unusual for a US President, what IS unusual 
is that at least to Democratic Senators, Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy, 
criticized the attack happening without Congressional approval.


I haven't heard anything from Senators Wyden or Merkley, have you?

Here are some other things we talked about, on or off the "bullhorn" 
(which, I remind you, is an orange traffic cone attached to an oil filter 

--The Biden administration finally released the investigation into the 
death of Jamal Khashoggi, which President Trump sat on for nearly two 
years, indicating that the US finds Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman 
responsible for the murder.


--Iran says that US sanctions imposed since Trump withdrew from the 
"nuclear deal" have cost their country over a trillion dollars, and they 
may seek reparations.


--For the second time in the month or so since Biden took office, a US 
warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait, a move that's provocative to 
China. Under Trump this happened 13 times last year, so Biden seems to be 
continuing this tradition.


--USA Today, the "McPaper" of the news industry, actually ran a story 
about the costs of the "War on Terror," showing that US military actions 
have touched on 85 countries -- ____just between 2018 and 2020____.


--In local / national news, I noted that Biden is in fact undoing some of 
the harms caused by Trump. Notably, though our city was never run by 
mutual aid and lack of hierarchy in the first place, Biden lifted the 
labeling of Portland as an "anarchist city."


--Also, the US Department of Justice's analysis of whether Portland is 
complying with their 9-year-old Agreement to reduce use of force revealed 
that Mayor Ted Wheeler's alleged ban on tear gas last September, in fact, 
had a loophole in it for "imminent threat to life." Shocking, I know, to 
learn that Mayor Wheeler wasn't telling the truth.

See page 11 of:


At the part of the march route where we talk about Israel/Palestine news, 
I noted that Israel was ready to share extra vaccine doses-- not with 
Palestinians, but with several countries which have one thing in common. 
They all agreed to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


When we got to the "home stretch" at 5th and Yamhill, in the "money for 
human needs, not war" segment, I noted that the USA Today article pegged 
the costs of the "War on Terror" at $6.4 trillion, including $1.9 trillion 
for the military and $925 billion just in interest payments. Think of what 
could be done for health care, housing, education and other human needs 
with that money.


The digital readerboard went out again on the east side of Pioneer Place 
Mall. I realized that this is the location of the new Gucci store, so 
maybe there's a connection somehow.

I also forgot to report a few weeks ago that the Apple Store had put up 
giant, fence-topped barricades all along the sidewalk in front of the 
building, replacing what was once just plywood on their (ridiculous floor 
to very high ceiling) windows. That plywood had been covered with Black 
Lives Matter portraits and graffiti. This week, the store re-opened, and 
the west half of the block is now encased in vertical fencing with narrow 
openings through which customers pass through security to get in. It looks 
a lot like the shoppers are animals in a zoo, except they chose to go in 
there on their own. It's very surreal. Apple's sign declaring their 
belief that Black Lives Matter remains on the outer fence. Nobody has yet 
(that I've seen) replaced the graffiti from the old sign that said "no 
they don't."

I guess in a way I was surprised that people didn't come down to the rally 
in reaction to the Biden Syria bombs, but we are still living under a 
pandemic and so while we want to see larger crowds, we still encourage you 
only to attend if you feel medically safe doing so.


dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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