A group of approximately 30 community members met Sunday afternoon to discuss a response to the shipment of Iraq war military supplies out of the Olympia port. The supplies will likely start arriving in the port tomorrow from Fort Lewis, by truck or train. Later in the week the SS Cape Intrepid will arrive to load the war supplies (http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20041113/business/32688.shtml).
The port appreciates the military’s business because it brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars. In actuality, this “profit” does not offset the $209 million dollars which is Olympia’s cost of the Iraq war (see the interactive map at http://www.nationalpriorities.org/maps/index.html). And even if it did, war profiteering has no place in Olympia.
The humanitarian situation in Iraq is worsening by the day as the war moves to urban areas, increasing civilian deaths. Falluja resident Fadhil Badrani said: “There are more and more dead bodies on the streets and the stench is unbearable… A house some doors from mine was hit during the bombardment on Wednesday night. A 13-year-old boy was killed. His name was Ghazi… I tried to flee the city last night but I could not get very far. It was too dangerous… Without water and electricity, we feel completely cut off from everyone else.” “I look at the devastation around me and ask – why?” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4004873.stm).
Some will say that the vehicles and materials will “support the troops”. In reality, the best way to support the troops is to get them out of Iraq as soon as possible, instead of extending a war which has claimed 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives, caused untold destruction and injury throughout the country, and caused the deaths of nearly 1,200 American soldiers.
DAILY VIGILS AND PROCESSIONS TO THE PORT
There will be a daily vigil at the intersection of Plum and State Streets at 4:00, beginning tomorrow. Plum and State is the closest visible intersection to the port. Additionally, if the supplies are brought in on trucks, they will pass through this intersection.
At 4:45 each day the vigil participants will walk in a procession to the port gates (by the Farmers Market).
Please bring signs with the names and pictures of American and Iraqi casualties. The Washington Post lists names and photos of American casualties at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/iraq/casualties/facesofthefallen.htm. The web site Iraq Body Count provides a partial list of the names, ages, and causes of death for Iraqi civilians: http://www.iraqbodycount.net/names.htm.
DEMONSTRATION ON THE DAY THE SS CAPE INTREPID ARRIVES
On the day that the ship arrives to load the war supplies, there will be a demonstration, also at 4:00, at the Port Plaza (by the observatory tower behind Anthony’s Restaurant). Several individuals are periodically checking the port and will notify KAOS, Free Radio Olympia, and OMJP when the ship arrives. An announcement about the demonstration will go out over the listserves and through a phone tree.
The demonstration will include speakers from OMJP, Veterans for Peace, and other groups.
PORT COMMISSION MEETING
Please attend the next port commission meeting at 5:30 on Monday, November 22. We need to let them know that we don’t accept the militarization of our community resource, the port.
The location is the LOTT Board Room, in the Market Centre Building, 111 Market Street NE (by the Farmer’s Market).
Additionally you can contact the Port Commissioners:
Commissioner, District 1
Tel: (360) 902-1099
Steven C. Pottle
Commissioner, District 2
Tel: (360) 438-2208
Commissioner, District 3
Tel: (360) 866-8619