[pjw] REPORT BACK: car-free zone: Friday rally #140 since stay-at-home orders
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Sat Nov 26 16:11:57 EST 2022
Hello again peaceful people
The reason there were no cars driving past our weekly Friday Rally for
Peace and Justice last night is directly related to some of the signs we
held calling to "Free Mohammed Mohamud: End FBI Stings." The 2010
incident where the FBI took the Somali teenager under their wing and set
him up for a fake bomb plot at the Square led to heightened security ever
since-- even though there was no danger at all in the first place. You may
recall that Mohamud's father called the FBI saying he was worried his son
was working with potential terrorists overseas. Rather than guide him to a
productive life, the FBI (with the assistance of the PPB, as those of us
at Friday rally in 2010 saw) entrapped the young man and he sits in prison
now until 2040. A man of Middle Eastern appearance came over and thanked
us for holding the signs and being there.
The eight of us attending stood kitty-corner to the Square. This was the
first in-person tree lighting ceremony since the pandemic hit in 2020. As
such, I did not remember this was also the first time we had the Ann
Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign and the wagon with us. There was no way to
know whether the Square would overflow as it had in years past. There was
fairly heavy rain leading up to the event and persistent but less intense
rain while we were there; I'd say the Square was only about half full (or
half empty you could say). Pre-COVID we used to have to elbow our way
along the sidewalks to march one lap around the Square. Last night the
crowds were so thin that the only people who saw the sign's scrolling
messages on the east side of the Square were about a dozen cops standing
on the old Federal Courthouse steps. (By the way, you may recall that
in January 2013 we projected "Free Mohammed Mohamud" on the old
Courthouse right above where those cops were standing last night, see:
To the extent possible we stayed masked up and distanced, certainly easier
without the full crowd. Still there were some challenges due to the
barricades set up for traffic. The giant dump trucks blocking off the main
streets made it easier to cross without fear of being struck by vehicles,
but also meant, as I hinted above, that there were absolutely zero cars
OK, now, on to what we talked about at the rally after I recapped the sad
story of Mohammed Mohamud.
--The UK has decided to pour more fuel on the fire of the Russia-Ukraine
war by sending helicopters to Ukraine.
--Iran has said they have enriched nuclear materials to 60%, which is
still well below weapons grade of 90%, but which Israel and the US have
used as an excuse to promise to step up military activities:
--Iran also lobbed bombs into the Kurdish area of northern Iraq this week,
telling the UN that they had "no choice" and it was in self defense; I
guess the US and Iran are more alike then they will ever admit.
--Speaking of cross-border bombings, the US condemned Turkey's bombs in
northern Syria... because they are threatening the safety and efforts of
US troops there. Once again, say it with me: Why does the US have troops
--And while the US is wary of those two countries' attacks, they said
nothing about Israel firing missiles that killed for soldiers in western
Syria. As usual.
--Vice President Kamala Harris, who rarely makes these news roundups,
spoke on board a Filipino ship, vowing to defend the South China Sea.
Meaning, the US continues to confront China.
---As evidence of this confrontation, the US sailed yet another warship
through the strait of Taiwan just days before Harris' speech.
--The Red Cross says that the sanctions on Afghanistan is causing the
majority of Afghans to struggle for survival. Diplomats that they are they
didn't mention the billions of dollars of Afghan money the US continues to
In local news, about 7 hours after our Friday rally ended last week, the
Portland Police shot and killed a 30 year old Black man, Immanueal Clark
Johnson. This is the ninth PPB shooting this year, the most since 2001.
Clark Johnson is (as far as we know) the first Black Portlander killed by
PPB since Andre Gladen in January 2019.
The march this time consisted only of that one lap around the Square. This
being an unusual and partly improvised event, I wasn't able to give the
news I had set aside on Israel/Palestine. But here it is for you:
--Israeli soldiers distributed leaflets threatening Palestinians who
crossed their barricades and the military called it an "error" (I guess
I wasn't really expecting them to call it a "war crime" or anything).
I did mention to the few folks who didn't take off right when the march
ended that all of the military in the world combined produce 5.5% of the
carbon footprint, meaning if all military were a nation they'd be fourth
highest on the globe ahead of Russia in emissions. Why spend all this
money on war rather than fixing the environment???
Because we came nowhere near Pioneer Place Mall, the Ann Huntwork Sign
never turned off. We walked our usual clockwise around the Square, though,
so only people on the inner edges of the sidewalks might have seen it.
Even if we were facing the other way, the people inside the Square likely
wouldn't have seen the sign as they were facing inward toward the tree. I
tested this theory as I walked away, rounding two edges counterclockwise,
and it was as if I were invisible. We'll come up with a better plan for
We're still out there every week if you can and are willing to join us.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
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