[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.

--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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