[pjw] REPORT BACK: Gonna Cause a Riot: Friday rally #88 since stay-at-home orders
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Sat Nov 27 15:32:08 EST 2021
Iraq Affinity Group supporters
This week's subject line refers to something we were told at the very end
of this week's Friday Rally for Peace and Justice. It being the day after
Thanksgiving, Pioneer Courthouse Square was prepared for holiday tree
lighting event. As we have done every year since 2011, we carried signs
saying "Free Mohamed Mohamud: End FBI Stings" as the six of us rallied at
the corner, marched on our usual route, and then took an extra, albeit
short, lap at the end. At about 5:45, five of us walked through the center
of Pioneer Courthouse Square with our signs, crossing in front of the
tree, thereby visible to about 300 people who were there to watch the
lights go on at 6 PM, even though the entertainment and narration were all
being done virtually. We had no problems at all-- no security, nobody
seemed upset, until we were almost out of the Square at the far corner
from where we entered and a woman started yelling "Are you really doing
this now? There are families here! There's gonna be a riot!" I'm pretty
sure there were curse words in there too. I had my response prepared from
previous such backlash. "Merry Christmas to you too."
Anyway, the weather was good, the crowds were thin and other than that,
most of the responses we had were positive. One man stopped to listen to
the story about how Mohamud had been entrapped by the FBI at age 19 and
tricked into thinking he was going to explode the tree in 2010. This was
mostly a show for the FBI to get Portland to rejoin the Joint Terrorism
Task Force, as the young man was given an apartment, the tools, and most
of the plot by FBI informants. The man was outraged, then started talking
about plots to give young people marijuana for mind control and so it's
not clear he was on the exact same page.
Two young self-proclaimed Communists stopped by with their literature
about trying to organize the workers at Starbucks (which sits on the
opposite corner of the Square from where we rally). They seemed more
attuned to the issues around the FBI ignoring Mohamud's father, who was
worried his son was being radicalized, and instead of helping the teen
setting him up. Mohamud's sentence of 30 years ends in 2040 (I think).
Anyway, here's what we talked about over the "bullhorn" (traffic cone on
an oil filter wrench handle) this week.
--In Iraq, the US has said the troops who are there will remain past
December 31, the date given to end combat operations. It's not clear what
the anti-US militias will think of this but I doubt they will be happy.
--The US has stated they have their military plans for Iran if the nuclear
deal talks, scheduled to start again next week, don't succeed.
--I may have missed that the US had talks with the Taliban in October.
They're supposed to talk again next week as well, focused on the
humanitarian crisis and fighting terrorism. The Taliban has already
said they don't want the US' help with the latter.
--Meanwhile, as they continue to tout a narrative that Russia is getting
ready to invade Ukraine, the US has sent a second warship into the Black
Sea, likely escalating rather than calming tensions.
In local news, City Council will (presumably) approve two settlements for
people harmed by police at demonstrations in 2018 and 2020. The more
recent one is $25,000 for a man who was at a racial justice demonstration
outside the Portland Police Association headquarters and suffered "bodily
The older one is a $125,000 payment for a man who was hit in the back of
the head with a "less lethal" "aerial distraction device"-- not meant to be
aimed at people, and even if that were ok, not supposed to be fired above
the waist. The man only survived because he was wearing a helmet.
Along the march route I noted that 26 House Democrat sent President Biden
a letter urging him to stop planned Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Strangely, Omar, Ocasio Cortez and the rest of "the Squad" aren't
signers-- maybe it was too tame?-- but Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer is.
As we headed toward the Square again I focused on a Common Dreams article
which pointed out that Sen. Bernie Sanders is trying to get the extra $25
billion that was added to next year's defense bill taken back out, and
that over the next 10 years the military budget will cost about twice as
much as the human needs in Biden's three large spending bills that
conservative lawmakers are complaining about.
It seems like Pioneer Place Mall might be emitting extra radio waves for
the holidays... last week the Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial sign turned off
right as we got to the corner of the mall; this week it shut off while we
were crossing the street. I rebooted the sign so it would display as we
made our short jaunt across the Square, which only took 2-3 minutes.
Perhaps as a reminder to the people in Salem who, I think, made a
political decision to end the outdoor mask ban just before Thanksgiving,
the new Omicron variant is now out there, so please continue to stay safe
and healthy. If you want to join us any week at 5 PM remember to mask up
and stay distanced.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
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